The California Supreme Court reached a decision in People v. Diaz that police may lawfully search mobile phones on arrested individuals, without first obtaining a search warrant. So with this ruling, should we just call privacy dead or are there still tricks to keep your personal information safe? Competitive Enterprise Institute's Ryan Radia explains.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
|Delisha Lashae Thomas|
By Ciara O'Rourke
Georgetown police say an Austin woman who reported earlier this month that she was kidnapped lied about the attack, including making up that she was held captive, forced to perform manual labor and sexually assaulted.
Delisha Lashae Thomas, 27, has been charged with making a false report to a police officer, a class B misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to 180 days in jail and as much as $2,000 in fines.
Thomas told police on the evening of Nov. 11 that she was driving her car in a North Austin neighborhood between 10 and 11 a.m. the day before when she ran over something and got out to check, Capt. Roland Waits has said.
Thomas said that a man then grabbed her at gunpoint and forced her into her car and told her to drive, Waits said. The next thing she recalled was waking up in a locked bathroom, he said, and the man let her out and made her perform a sexual act on him and do some chores before locking her up again.
Thomas told police that he let her out of the bathroom again the following morning and made her perform another sexual act on him before he got upset, forced her into the trunk of her car and poured bleach on her, Waits said. She said she didn’t know how long she was locked in the trunk once the car, which she said she was able to escape through a trunk release lever.
Thomas told police that her attacker was a black man with a small star tattoo under his right eye but couldn’t provide further information about what happened, Waits said.
However, Waits announced Wednesday morning that a detective was able to use cell phone records, receipts and video footage from an H-E-B, a McDonald’s and Austin Police Department cameras to re-create Thomas’ whereabouts for the two days she was allegedly held captive.
Presented with the officer’s findings, she confessed to making up the incident, Waits said, and admitted to pouring bleach on herself.
She didn’t explain why she made the report, he said. “We honestly don’t know her motivation.”
Thomas was in the process of being booked into the Williamson County Jail around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Her bail is $8,000, according to police.
Linda Jackson, a spokeswoman for Huston-Tillotson University, said Thomas “appears” to be the same Delisha Thomas who was involved in a hoax at the university last year.
The university issued a press release that March announcing that Delisha L. Thomas, a student at the university, received one of the top four scores in the country on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and would be honored at the U.S. Department of Education Conference.
But a letter that Thomas told the university she had received from the federal agency was a fake, Jackson said Wednesday.
Thomas is no longer a student at the university, Jackson said. “I believe she finished all of her coursework here.”
The link to the survey is here
This is an excellent way to be a part of the changes we are fighting for without leaving your home or even revealing your identity. Please feel free to forward the survey to other members of your or your loved one's family, as they do not need to live with the offender to take the survey.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. Below is an excerpt of the email from Ms. Wimbish with more information on the logistics of the survey.
I am a sociology Masters student conducting research for a Master’s thesis at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). This study will build on past research examining the collateral consequences of sex offender registration and notification legislation on families of registered sex offenders.
This research will gather information from family members using an online survey. I am asking for your assistance because as experts in this area, you are in a unique position to distribute the survey to family members of registered sex offenders who may be experiencing collateral consequences.
The survey gathers demographic information (age, race, gender etc.) and asks questions about individual experiences related to sex offender legislation, including questions about residency restrictions, employment, religious experiences and harassment. The survey also asks questions related to commonly held fears people have about reporting sexual abuse. The survey is completely anonymous and does not collect IP addresses, Geo Tags or any other identifying information."
Thank you again for your support!
|Rep. Steve Hurst|
By DEBORAH HASTINGS
Alabama legislator Steve Hurst wants to force pedophiles to be physically castrated, a drastic measure that goes farther than any other state and ignites fierce arguments with no winning side. The bill would also make molesters pay for the procedure.
He was just a little boy when he first molested a child.
At age 7 he tried to rape his 3-year-old cousin by luring her into a closet.
He knew he was doing something awful and bad, but his only deterrence, he said, was his ignorance of female anatomy.
_____, now 52, has said he molested more than 240 children in a long, dark criminal career that could only be stopped, he told Texas authorities, by having his testes cut out.
To believe him and his lawyer is to accept that castration — whether surgical or chemical — keeps serial pedophiles from ruining more young lives.
To neuter or not to neuter is one of the most fierce questions in criminal justice systems around the globe.
Now comes an Alabama state legislator, with a newly proposed law that has reignited fiery rhetoric on all sides, and goes farther than any other castration laws currently observed in at least nine U.S. states.
Under the bill from Rep. Steve Hurst, which will be debated next year, convicted molesters older than age 21 whose victims were younger than 12 would be forced to undergo surgical castration at their own expense.
"I know I have people that say that this is inhumane," Hurst said earlier this month, when he resubmitted the bill he pushed last year but failed to get passed.
"What is inhumane is to molest a child, especially an infant,” said the Republican lawmaker. “That's inhumane."
Paul Looney, the Texas criminal defense lawyer for _____, told the Daily News there’s no doubt in his mind that castration can be humane for both the perpetrator and society. And it works, according to his experience.
“I can tell you absolutely that it helps every male with impulse control," said Looney, who has represented about eight men who voluntarily chose surgical castration.
None of them have re-entered the legal system, he said, because castration lowers both sexual impulses and hostile behavior. And his former clients have been able to resist their lessened drives.
“There’s no way I would recommend it as a mandatory measurement. There’s an element of beastiality to it,” Looney said.
“But if it works, and if it gives them a way out of attacking another victim, then that’s a home run.”
_____’s request to be physically castrated prompted Texas in 1997 to become the first state to allow it.
Why did he ask for such a drastic measure?
“He didn’t believe that chemical castration would work for him,” Looney said. “It works only for as long as you take the drugs, and he didn’t believe he would have the will to keep up with it.”
_____ declined to accept a phone call placed by The News to his Texas work-release quarters in the Bexar County Jail.
Castration is viewed as cruel and unusual punishment by the ACLU and Amnesty International, among other groups. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that child molesters could not be executed if they did not commit murder during their lewd acts.
Some medical studies show lower recidivism rates for castrated criminals versus those who didn’t receive the procedures.
Studies in Germany have shown about 3% of castrated offenders repeated their crimes. For those who didn’t undergo castration, the figure ranged from 46 percent to 75 percent.
Louisiana defense attorney Nathan Fisher said he suggested that his client _____, an aging serial molester, undergo surgery to remove his testes in 2011.
Then 78, _____ was serving a 27-year sentence handed down in 1999 for molesting three girls.
In exchange for having himself castrated, _____ was granted parole. Fisher said the dire decision was driven by his client’s commitment to changing his ways so he could spend the last years of his life with his relatives.
“I just had to do something. I had to think outside the box,” Fisher told The News.
Otherwise, Fisher said, _____ would have died in jail. The lawyer said he hasn't talked to his former client in years, but knows that he hasn't been accused of molesting children since his release.
Now 81, _____ lives in West Baton Rouge, La., under orders to register as a sex offender, according to public records. His last known telephone number is no longer in service.
In a series of laws passed over the past two decades, chemical castration may be required of repeat molesters in California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.
Only Texas and Louisiana offer the option of cutting out the testes, where 95 percent of testosterone is produced.
California was the first to pass a castration law in 1996. It also requires continued chemical castration for molesters who have completed their prison sentences but are committed indefinitely to state mental hospitals because they are deemed to be a continued threat to the community.
In many cases, prosecutors don’t much care for granting parole to serial molesters, even if they've been castrated.
Yet curbing the malevolent predilections of predators with criminal histories is not as simple as prescribing medication or picking up a scalpel, many say.
In California, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Mike Carroll told The News that lowering testosterone levels is not a cure for pedophilia.
“You can use other body parts,” he said. “Fingers, mouths, etc. Castration may lower someone’s sex drive, but it doesn't lower their risk to offend.”
The Southern California prosecutors office has opposed releasing _____, a twice-convicted child molester who volunteered for surgical castration in 2003.
He obtained a court order for the surgery and paid for it himself. After serving sentences for molesting three girls and showing pornography to a boy, he was deemed a sexually violent predator by prosecutors and has been locked up in state mental hospitals since 2000.
Several requests for parole, based on his castration, have been denied.
There are no statistics on the number of men who have volunteered for surgical castration or been given chemical injections.
About 265,000 sex offenders are currently incarcerated in state prisons, according to U.S. Department of Justice figures. Some 750,000 are listed on sex offender registration lists.
But just like legal experts, medical professionals can’t agree on whether castrating child molesters within the criminal justice system is a good solution to a pernicious problem.
“There is a role for this in medical practices [with] consenting patients,” said Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, now known as the Sexual Behavior Consultation Unit, which specializes in treating pedophiles and others with sexual disorders including voyeurism and exhibitionism. A 1990s survey of 400 pedophiles who had received clinic treatment including chemical castration showed a recidivism rate of about 8 percent, he said.
“But to do this as punishment is absolutely inappropriate,” he told The News.
Lowering testosterone levels, which in turn lowers libidos, can benefit pedophiles, who by definition are driven by sexual urges toward children.
It wouldn't have much effect on psycopaths or “someone with no sense of moral responsibility — there’s no medicine in the world that is going to instill that in a person,” Berlin said.
Passing castration laws does not address the very real problem of how to treat child molesters in a humane way, he said.
“These seems to have become an issue among legislators who aren't medical experts,” Berlin said.
“What’s behind this is the ‘Let’s just castrate the bastards’ mentality,” he added. “And that doesn't work very well.”
Empirical research has repeatedly proven that community notification is ineffective at increasing community safety but rather it excels at increasing collateral and direct damage to former offenders and their families, which is increasing daily as citizens use the sex offender websites as hit lists for vigilante actions against offenders , their families, friends and employers. These vigilante actions range from bullying, vandalism, harassment, assaults and even murder. Also legislators are increasingly abusing their power by creating laws, which often violate the Constitution, that are based not on empirical research or sound logic but on emotion, opinion, hysteria and what is popular and most likely to get them reelected. This further adds to the harm done to these former offenders and their families.
I believe it’s time to look at the real problem, the registry itself. If there was no registry then there would be no community notification and no collateral damage. So what exactly is the reason for the registry in the first place besides a bigoted hatred towards a specific group of people? People that I might add have already repaid their debt to society through punishment handed down by the judicial system. If the registry where truly about public safety, rather than hatred and vengeance towards this specific group, then wouldn’t all dangerous criminals be on some sort of registry?
If you look at at the laws, the legislature gives us insight into their reasoning for the registry’s existence. For example, if you look at the findings of the Nebraska Legislature listed under statute 29-4002 they state the following: